One of the most beautiful (and consistent) meteor showers of the year, the Lyrids, is nearly here — with a peak right around April 21-22. So make a note in your calendar and get ready for what looks to be quite a good show this year!
The Lyrid meteor shower will be peaking in the very early morning hours of April 22 (late-night on April 21), right around 2 am or so. The nights on either side of that should all offer decent shows as well though.
Conditions this year are pretty good, as the Moon won’t make its appearance until around 2 am or so, so the hours before that will be nice and dark. Just the way that you want.
Something to note, the Lyrids are primarily a Northern Hemisphere meteor shower — while those in the Southern Hemisphere close to the equator may be able to see some of the meteors, the Lyrids are certainly best seen from the north.
You can expect those 15-20 meteors an hour this year, when watching from a dark location. The meteors will appear to be originating out of the constellation of the Lyra, in the eastern portion of the sky.
Some general tips on meteor watching:
• You want to find the darkest sky that you can, preferably far away from city lights — dark, rural locations are the ideal.
• Get as comfortable as you can— reclining chairs, warm clothes, blankets, pillows, etc, all go a long way towards improving the experience.
• A cup of warm coffee or hot chocolate tends to make the experience more enjoyable as well.
To keep tabs on the other celestial events of the year you can download this annual calendar of celestial events! (It’s a free PDF).
Image Credit: NASA